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42 customer reviews

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(Oct 11, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

How do you make a fortune from the bloodlust of millions? One sadistically savvy businessman (Samuel L. Jackson) has created an empire with his brutal, fight-to-the-death gladiator website. His newest warrior is David Lord (Kellan Lutz), a kidnapped fireman, now imprisoned and forced to fight for his life. To buy his freedom, Lord agrees to do a series of lethal bouts. But as the body count escalates, and with his most challenging battle remaining, Lord unleashes a torrent of bloody carnage and reveals a secret that threatens to tear down the entire enterprise. Also featuring Daniel Dae Kim (TV’s “Lost”) and Nina Dobrev (TV’s “Vampire Diaries”).

About as subtle and refined as a caveman fighting a Hell's Angel, this relentlessly in-your-face martial arts film delivers more than its fair share of rewind-worthy moments. Visual-effects veteran Jonah Loop's directorial debut plays like an easy-reading mash-up of Bloodsport and The Prisoner: after suffering a family tragedy, a firefighter (The Twilight Saga's Kellan Lutz) finds himself held captive in a futuristic jail, where he must fight a never-ending slew of death matches for the amusement of a worldwide web audience. As he struggles to survive, the sadistic creator of the game (Samuel L. Jackson, having a ball) does what he can to worsen the odds. While that description may be more complicated than the actual plot, the brutal choreography and the cast's energy level definitely make up for deficiencies elsewhere: although Lutz mainly acts with his pecs, he's more than compensated for by Jackson gleefully chewing the scenery, brief appearances from genre stalwarts James Remar and Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, and a terrific secondary bad guy in Johnny Messner, who all but spits venom at the camera when ticked off. Those looking for logic and continuity in their action movies need not apply, but for all of its clumsiness, Arena displays a firm knowledge of what exactly makes an exploitation flick hum: whenever it spies a chance for something gratuitous, it doubles down. --Andrew Wright

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Jackson, Johnny Messner, Katia Winter, Daniel Kim, James Remar
  • Directors: Jonah Loop
  • Producers: Mark Williams, Brad Krevoy, Mike Callaghan
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005F3XVAS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,329 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Arena" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"What's the one thing we all have in common?...Death." After a tragic accident leaves his wife dead, David (Lutz) is picked to take part in a "game". This game involves two men fighting to the death. When David agrees to do it in exchange for his freedom, the creator (Jackson) has other plans. My theory of movies lately are that there are no original ideas anymore. Recently it seems like it's either a remake, sequel, comic book or a rehash of a movie that has been done. Counting this movie, 13 and Freerunner there are now 4 movies released recently that steal from "Death Race". While I did see the others first it may have skewed my judgment but this was much slower then I was expecting. The plot is...take a guy with no family, force him to fight and kill for his freedom while the evil creator watches. Very predictable and is really only worth watching for the fighting and nudity. On the other hand, why else would you watch this anyway? Overall, not a bad movie, but the plot is starting to get old and over used. That makes it lose the excitement and impact. Because of un-originality I give it a B-.

Would I watch again? - Not this one...but again I'm sure next month another version will come out.

*Also try - Gamer & Death Race 1 & 2
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John's Horror Corner on October 19, 2011
Format: DVD
It's not so bad that's it's good--and it's clearly not good, yet not bad. Far from great yet quite entertaining, this death match, modern gladiatorial fight flick does the trick for a rainy evening when nothing's on TV and Netflix isn't turning you on.

In a wardrobe that smacks of a Shaft-y pimp, Samuel L. Jackson holds meetings in his Pharaoh-chic throne room office and produces an online death show from what looks like an evil star ship Enterprise flight deck. What's his show like? It's a live, online death match. The viewership includes bored office drones and college kids who laugh and make bets as people beat each other into Sloppy Joe filling. Then, after the fight is over, the viewers vote on whether the loser lives or dies at the executing hand of the victor. This is not original by any means, but that doesn't mean movies like this can't still be fun.

Like a modern day Gladiator our star is kidnapped and enslaved. To "break him" he is regularly waterboarded, electrocuted, or suppressed by blaring noise. He has no choice but to fight, but to do so well could mean a glorious death--so says his leather-bound captor. Still hesitant to fight, he receives an incentive: win ten fights, win your freedom. He is renamed Death Dealer, which I hope is a polite nod to Frank Frazetta's fantasy art, and he starts to get into it a bit.

The fights are pretty decent, mix the kumite death match-style movie with medieval to construction site weapons play, deliver some solid brutality and gore, and most importantly they are very fun to watch. In the opening fight, the filmmakers employed a harsh light/shadow contrast creating a somewhat Spartacus: Blood and Sand feel with a touch of 300.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By SmartguyH on November 1, 2011
Format: DVD
Okay, I'll be the first to eat some humble pie or crow or whatever. I thought this movie was going to be BADDDDD. I was only gonna check it out b/c Samuel L. Jackson was in it and Kellan Lutz has proven himself with cool comments.

Yeah, I think this movie would have gotten bigger sales, had they had a BETTER TRAILER. The trailer makes this movie look cheap cheap cheap. The movie is awesome. After watching this, the only reason I can see why this didn't go to the movies is because Kellan Lutz has basically been a cameo kinda actor and this is his prime spotlight movie. I think b/c of him being in Twilight, he's had to prove himself as an actor. He definitely proved himself worthy of a starring role.

This is definitely a guy's type of movie. If you like Fight Club, 300, Death Race, and (whatever movie Gerard Butler's in where he's in a virtual video game) you'll like this. Oh, and there's lots of naked women. Yeah, this movie's gonna get hits gradually from word of mouth.

Simple synopsis- Guy gets kidnapped and put in like a virtual Gladiator type deal. So it's a green screen room that to the viewers watching on their computers and such there are cool backgrounds. (Think video games where you pick the background). At some point the characters even dress in character. (I.E. two construction workers go at it).

Yeah highly recommended movie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PJR on June 6, 2012
Format: DVD
Interesting film. This is a mixed bag and a film with lots of improbable aspects. You have to suspend critical judgment or don't bother with it if you are looking for a tightly constructed plot and great dialogue and a deep message.

There are elements of Rollerball and how mindless viewers keep brutal money-making enterprises going. But the social scam/pacificaiton idea in Rollerball is not developed here. Nor the exploitation of "heroism." So this is only a dim echo of Rollerball. These fighters are being involuntarily exploited -- period. The managers are pure money grubbing egomaniac evil. The social message is very thin.

So far as the fight scenes go, I cannot judge. I generally only watch fight films to keep up with what is happening socially and in film or for stories built around them and not for the technical aspects of the fights themselves. But my sense is that the fights do not set any new standard for skills. They were very bloody. If that turns you on then maybe this is enough.

There was more to it in my opinion than the bloody Roman Gladiator sort of thing -- which is certainly there.

What was interesting was the sadomasochistic theme. Usually such films are tilted towards the sado part. There is plenty of sadism on the part of the managers here. But I would say this film was tilted towards the masochism of the central actor. He really wanted/needed to suffer because he felt guilty, apparently that he was driving when his pregnant wife was killed (and/or another angle that emerges towards the end of the film -- why spoil the "plot" such as it is?).

His need to suffer is not exactly a death wish because of guilt, and that is interesting.
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